Rocky VHS Trilogy Sold for Over $53,000 at Auction

The enduring “Rocky” fandom sure packs an expensive punch.

The rise of VHS auctions has included a whopping sale of $53,750 for the “Rocky” trilogy starring Sylvester Stallone. A February sale from Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas marked a return for videotapes. As Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary relive their video-store days with a VHS-centric podcast, and video production company and YouTube channel Red Letter Media raised over $80,000 for charity by selling a sealed “Nukie” tape, consumers are flocking to collectibles. And especially as content keeps getting yanked off streaming services.

“A man told us he found a sealed first release of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ at Goodwill,” Heritage specialist Jay Carlson, a collector who uses an Instagram account titled Rare and Sealed, told The New York Times. “He paid a quarter. That will probably go for $20,000.”

Carlson’s first auction in June 2022 profited more than half a million dollars. A February 2023 auction included “Rocky,” “Rocky II,” and “Rocky III,” with the trilogy landing a $53,750 price tag. A total of 235 tapes were sold at the auction.

“I said to my wife, ‘I think I might start collecting tapes,’” Carlson explained of how his business began. “I was taking a piece of my childhood back.”

He added, “These tapes are historical artifacts that have this ability to sweep you back in time to a place that all at once feels miles away and yet somehow like home. I used to think it was just me, but I talk to more and more people getting into this because of that pull.”

In other VHS collectible news, back in January 2023, Red Letter Media heads Mike Stoklasa, Jay Bauman, and Rich Evans destroyed 104 copies of “Nukie” to make their sealed VHS tape rarer.

“We’re proud to say we very well could be the owners of the world’s largest collection of ‘Nukie’ VHS tapes,” Stoklasa said, with the video caption reading, “As the owners of 1000s of crappy VHS tapes, we were curious to dig deeper into this trend.”

In a video posted December 30, the RLM hosts sent the VHS that seemed to be in the best condition to be professionally graded through a third-party service that rates the quality, authenticity, and condition of the tape. The idea was inspired by the news that a “Back to the Future” VHS was selling for $75,000 at auction.

The graded “Nukie” VHS sold for $80,600 on January 6 on eBay, with the YouTube video viewed upwards of 1.2 million times. The auction money was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and the Wisconsin Humane Society.

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